BitTorrent vs the Supreme Court of Victoria

Last night Channel Nine screened the crime drama Underbelly everywhere across Australia — except Victoria, where it was banned following a Supreme Court order. But thanks to the joys of BitTorrent, thousands of people have already downloaded it from the Internet. The law cannot cope in this new era.

As the screenshot shows, Underbelly was online within two hours of broadcast. By mid-morning today, 6500+ people had downloaded it from Mininova alone.

Screenshot of Underbelly downloads available on Mininova

As with the Corey Delaney episode before it, this highlights the stupidity of the law in the bold new age of the Internet. I have no complaint with Justice Betty King’s decision. She’s just upholding the law as it stands. The law, alas, is hopelessly inadequate.

Who, I wonder, has this kind of law reform on their agenda. Anyone?

Bonus links:

6 Replies to “BitTorrent vs the Supreme Court of Victoria”

  1. Heh. This sort of thing happened before BitTorrent existed: Blue Murder (1995 ABC drama about police corruption in NSW) wasn’t screened in NSW for similar reasons, yet I remember people in Sydney receiving VHS tapes of the show from friends interstate.

    Really, did nobody at Nine foresee Underbelly might be banned? If Underbelly was a .mpg file of, say, an amusing pet cat, we’d be saying it had ‘gone viral’. Has the ban stimulated disproportionate interest, and therefore become a blessing in disguise for Nine? Do the downloaded versions still contain commercials? When hypotheses compete, I usually favour ‘cock-up’ over ‘conspiracy’, but sometimes I wonder….

  2. I know people who had no interest watching it until the Aus Family Assoc went batshit crazy. It’s free hype and Nine was probably creaming their pants for more.

    Honestly, I just have no interest in tuning in. Thirteen episodes means thirteen weeks of devotion to Nine. accck.

  3. @Richard: Agreed, this all happened before. However digital comms technology is both faster and easier, so it all happens on a different scale.

    @Michael Meloni: The Aust Family Association had an angle on this? Let me guess… portraying criminals as “real people” rather than demons?

    @Bernard: Ackland certainly makes sense. Rather than pretending to be able to find people who know nothing, just take that into account and work with it.

    And I agree with everyone who points out that if there wasn’t the ban, most of the downloaders wouldn’t have bothered with it.

  4. Honestly, I just have no interest in tuning in. Thirteen episodes means thirteen weeks of devotion to Nine. accck.

    Well that’s why you BitTorrent it 😉

    Nine did well out of it – 1.3 mil rating without Melbourne is quite impressive. I too suspect there was a bit of orchestration around this, though they would have to deal with peeved advertisers finding out they paid top dollar for the timeslot with no access to the Melb market (Nine heartland).

  5. Times like these I’m glad I don’t have proper 9 reception, amongst all this, did anyone pass comment about the show, what it was like? Or was that lost in the creamy underderps of everyone. Not that I have any actual interest in watching it, but I’m curious none the less.

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